This panel was compiled by the Conference Program Team from independently submitted paper proposals
In the period 1410–14, a large number of complex and high-quality compendia of Persian texts was dedicated to the contemporary Timurid ruler over Fars, Iskandar b. ʿUmar Shaykh. Although the anthologies’ colorful illustrations and increasingly also their non-illustrative paintings are subject to art historical investigations, the sophisticated interplay of contents, forms and illumination remains largely unstudied. This paper seeks to examine a group of qaṣīda poems that recurs in these anthologies. The poems are, besides by contentual features, typically organized by their formal characteristics: Some are shaped as a tree or a circle; Others are composed with regard to specific artistic devices such as the tajnīs (poems employing homonyms) or as a maḥdhūf (poems omitting a certain element such as diacritical dots or the letter alif). Only after these criteria, the qaṣīdas are grouped by their authors – some of whom are barely known to today’s scholarly work. The special characteristics of the handwritten and illuminated manuscript demonstrate themselves to the full in these anthologies: forms are freely drawn into set jadwal-frames, colors have been applied to highlight certain words or devices, and figurative and non-figurative paintings embellish the qaṣīdas but might just as well add up to their meaning. For the first time, this group of qaṣīdas will be compared to both earlier and later compendia (esp. the Muʾnis al-Aḥrār fī Daqāʾiq al-Ashʿār compiled in 1341 by Badr al-Dīn Jājarmī and the seventh book of Qabūl Muḥammad’s Haft Qulzum, lithographed in Lucknow in 1822 and shortly thereupon translated into German by Friedrich Rückert). The close examination of text and layout will shed light upon selection and organization processes, the artistic devices used, traditions in the display of the qaṣīdas, and the inventions of the workshop of Iskandar.